DestinationsFully vaccinated travellers are not required to self-quarantine upon entering the country from 21 March.

South Korea is reopening soon for fully vaxxed travellers

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South Korea is the first in East Asia to open its borders for leisure travel.
South Korea is the first in East Asia to open its borders for leisure travel. Photo Credit: GettyImages/NeoPhoto

While Southeast Asia nations have been steadily easing Covid restrictions in recent weeks, East Asia has been comparatively slower or muted in their efforts to reopen travel.

That is expected to change soon when South Korea will become the first country in East Asia to reopen to fully vaccinated travellers. Come 21 March, the country will drop self-quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated international travellers.

The announcement was made by the South Korean Health Ministry on Friday, 11 March. Previously, travellers entering South Korea were required to undergo a seven-day self-quarantine. Now, the ministry has removed that requirement for travellers who have received two doses of Covid-19 vaccines, at least two weeks earlier but less than 180 days ago, including those with booster shots.

International travellers will still be subjected to rapid antigen tests twice on their trips — on the sixth and seventh day after entering South Korea. But otherwise, they’re free to explore the country’s offerings as soon as they arrive on South Korea’s soil.

For reasons not specified though, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine and Myanmar are not considered in this exemption, and travellers from these four countries will still have to observe the previous seven-day self-quarantine mandate.

South Korea’s exemption of its self-quarantine regulation may give the country a head start in reviving its tourism industry compared to its neighbouring countries in East Asia, including China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Mongolia and Taiwan, which are still relatively closed off to international leisure travellers.

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